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0222 Marco Polo : vol.1
Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 222 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000271
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THE WICKED TYRANNY OF ACMAT THE BAILO MARCO POLO that is learned astrologers, say that it is wrong to shed human blood. It has been told then about the contents of the city of Taidu. Now we shall say how the Cataians wished to rebel

in the city.


It is a true thing, as will be said below, that there are deputed twelve men who have the disposal of the lands and governorships and all the other things, as seems best to them. Among whom was a Saracen named Acmat, a clever and strong man, who had great influence and authority with the great Kaan beyond the others. And the lord was so fond of him that he had every liberty. For, as was found after his death, that Acmat so bewitched the lord with his spells that the lord gave the greatest belief and attention to all his words, and so he did all that he wished to do. He gave away all the governorships and offices and punished all the evildoers. And whenever he wished to put anyone whom he hated to death, whether justly or unjustly, be went to the lord and said to him, Such a one is worthy of death because he has offended against your Majesty like this. Then the lord said, Do what thou pleasest; and immediately he had him put to death. And so, when men saw the full liberty which he had and that the lord gave such full trust to his word that they did not dare to contradict him in anything, there was no one so great and of such authority that he did not fear him. And if anyone was accused by him to the lord on a capital charge, and wished to defend himself, he could not disprove it and use his arguments because he had no one with whom[he could do so], for none dared to speak against that Acmat. And in this way he made many die unjustly. Besides this there was no fair lady whom, if he wanted her, he did not have at his will, taking her for wife if she was not married, or otherwise making her consent. And when he knew that anyone had some pretty daughter, he had his ruffians who went to the father of the girl saying to him, What wilt thou do? Thou hast this daughter of thine. Give her for wife to the Bailo, (that is to Acmat, for he was called Bailo as one would say Deputy) and we will make him give thee such a governorship or such an office for three years. And so he gave him his daughter. And then Acmat said to the lord, Such a government is vacant or ends on such a day; such a man is fitted to rule it. And the lord answered him, Do what seems right to thee. And so he invested him immediately with such a governorship. In this way, partly through ambition for governorships and offices, partly because this Acmat was feared, all the fair ladies—he either took them for wives, or had them at his pleasure. He had also sons, about twenty-five, who were in the greater offices; and some of them, under- the name and shelter of the father, committed adultery like the father, and did many other unspeakable and wicked things. This Acrnat had collected much treasure, because each one who wished for some governorship or office sent him some great